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念佛四十八法 39) 持而不持持名 Reciting but not Reciting
 
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39) 持而不持持名

Reciting but not Reciting

This means reciting without growing weary or bored, while feeling better and better. It means reciting the words “Amitabha Buddha” in a very clear, distinct way, without interruption and finding that these words have suddenly, temporarily, become frozen in your mind. It is to have no thoughts of the word “Amitabha” and no thoughts other than this word. This can provisionally be ca led attaining an auspicious realm. but not truly the state of Empty Mind. However, if you are diligent in reciting the Buddha’s name, the realm always appears and in time you will achieve the state. If because of a thought of Empty Mind, you succumb to drowsiness and lethargy, you are lacking in wisdom.

You should realize that the more empty your m ind is, the more wondrous and pure your recitation will be. When you use the self within the Buddha M ind to recite the Buddha in your own mind, neither Emptiness nor Non-Emptiness can be found. It is as though the sun or moon, while shining on the Jade Palace, were revolving around the Polar Mountain and shining on the whole world.

Indeed, what can be better than Wonderful Enlightenment becoming Perfect Enlightenment (Buddhahood)?(23)

持名不懈,快足又快足,于念佛时,明明持此四字,念头不转,而四字忽然一停,亦 非有即四字之念,亦非有离四字之念,亦非有四字以外之念,此谓暂得胜境,非真心 空也。然勤勤念佛,此境屡现则渐渐心空,若因一念心空,遂逐昏沉,是谓无慧。当 知心愈空则念愈灵,心愈空则念愈净,以佛心中之我,念我心中之佛,空与不空,更 在何处?譬如日与月,赫渥乘宝宫,旋绕须弥山,周流照天下,噫!此何如妙觉圆明 哉!

Commentary

Once we have recited the Buddha’s name to the point where it is effortless, we become free and unimpeded. There is no effort, no reflection – non-recitation yet nothing other than recitation, recitation yet nothing other than the state of non- recitation of the Self-Mind.

This is like a person learning to ride a bicycle. He appears to be using his head, his body, both arms and both legs, but the bicycle is still listing to one side or another. However, once he has mastered the technique, there is no need to grip the wheel or contort his body. With normal pedaling and no great exertion of effort, the bicycle runs straight, with none of the difficulties encountered earlier. The ancients used to say: there is nothing in life so difficult that it cannot be done. The only problem is that we do not act, or if we do act, we fail to do so steadfastly over a period of time. That is why, in the end, nothing is well done. What greater cause for regret i s t her e?


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